This film festival award-winner from first-time feature filmmaker Rudolf Mestdagh is quite a remarkable work. Despite its title, it has no relation to the similarly named comic book, nor to Mr. Strauss’ opera (though the film does reference Sophocles at one point). Rather, it’s a multi-storied tale done in an audaciously fragmented style that will call to mind such things as Crash and Syriana, but which uses that approach to somewhat different ends, with a frequently more playful touch.
Mestdagh has style to spare. His film is a constant treat visually — almost to the point of overkill. Ellektra sometimes feels too full of itself, as if the director sensed he had this one chance to prove himself, so he threw in everything he could. Even so, the film is never dull, and always fascinating in its examination of a guilt-ridden ex-junkie (Gert Portael) who is given a chance to clear a debt with a dealer (Serge-Henri Valcke) if she will locate his missing daughter, Ellen (Catherine Kools). An unexpectedly compelling treat. Not rated, but contains nudity, violence, language and drug use.
– reviewed by Ken Hanke